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Most Canadians feel 2022 was worse than 2021, poll suggests

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Many Canadians will be saying “good riddance” to 2022 as it draws to a close, a new poll suggests, with more people comparing it unfavourably to 2021 than saying it was a better year.

Polling firm Leger asked Canadians at the beginning of December what their impressions were of the past year and how their outlook was shaping up for 2023.

It found that 31 per cent of respondents felt this year was worse for them than last year and only 21 per cent said it was better. Another 46 per cent said it was about the same, and three per cent said they didn’t know or preferred not to answer.

A total of 1,526 Canadians participated in the web survey from Dec. 9 to Dec. 11. It cannot be assigned a margin of error because online polls are not considered truly random samples.

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Christian Bourque, executive vice president of Leger, noted that 2021 had been a pandemic year when “you basically couldn’t do much.”

“Everybody would have thought 2022 would have been better, right?” he said in an interview.

While the past year saw the lifting of widespread COVID-19 restrictions and millions returning to more-normal routines and schedules, Bourque said concerns about inflation and the cost of living were the chief reasons that led people to have a gloomier outlook.

“I think there’s probably a level of angst in the Canadian public that we haven’t seen for a while,” he said.

He added that those most likely to have a negative view of 2022 were people 55 and older, who may be on fixed incomes and wondering how they will make ends meet, and those living in Atlantic Canada and British Columbia, places hit by major weather disasters.

High inflation and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine early this year remain top of mind for Canadians as they think about what could come in 2023, the poll suggests.

When asked which events they were most worried about, 86 per cent of respondents cited a combination of higher inflation, interest rates and prices, while 81 per cent said they feared economic recession.

Results show 72 per cent of respondents expressed concern about the war in Ukraine expanding, and 68 per cent felt worried about “catastrophic” weather events due to climate change.

When it comes to COVID-19, the poll suggests far fewer Canadians are worried about the virus, with just over half, or 52 per cent, saying they were anxious about a resurgence.

More people, 57 per cent, were concerned about the spread of another, different virus.

While the “Freedom Convoy” protests staged in Ottawa and at several United States border crossings last winter proved to a defining moment for the country in 2022, not many Canadians appear concerned that 2023 could bring more civil disobedience.

Only 35 per cent of respondents said they felt worried about such activity near where they live, according to the poll.

Unsurprisingly, the poll suggests those most worried about prices and the economy are supporters of the Conservative Party of Canada, whose leader, Pierre Poilievre, has made both his primary focus.

It also shows that more federal Liberal and New Democrat supporters are nervous about the war in Ukraine and climate change-related weather disasters than are Tory voters.

In terms of how Canadians are thinking about 2023, the poll suggests the country is feeling more optimistic. It says 34 per cent of respondents said they feel it will be better than 2022, compared to 22 per cent who said they think it will be worse.

Another 40 per cent said they feel the new year will be about the same, and four per cent didn’t provide an answer or didn’t know.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 24, 2022.

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Uber brings back ride share for some Canadian cities — but under a new name – Global News

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Uber brings back ride share for some Canadian cities — but under a new name  Global NewsView Full Coverage on Google News

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'Not telling us the truth': NSP customers complain utility isn't transparent about outages – CBC.ca

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‘Not telling us the truth’: NSP customers complain utility isn’t transparent about outages  CBC.caView Full Coverage on Google News

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Tiny wines find home in B.C.’s market, as Canadians consider reducing consumption

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VANCOUVER — Wine lovers have growing options on the shelf to enjoy their favourite beverage as producers in B.C. offer smaller container sizes.

Multiple British Columbia wineries over the last several years have begun offering their product in smaller, single-serve cans and bottles.

Along with making wine more attractive to those looking to toss some in a backpack or sip on the golf course, the petite containers leave wineries with options for a potential shift in mindset as Canadians discuss the health benefits of reducing alcohol consumption.

Vancouver-based wine consultant Kurtis Kolt said he’s watched the segment of the wine industry offering smaller bottles and cans “explode” over the last several years, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic when people were meeting outdoors in parks and beaches and looking for something more portable to take with them.

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“You’re not taking a hit on quality, you know? In fact, if someone is only going to be having a glass or two, you’re cracking a can and it’s completely fresh, guaranteed,” he said.

It’s also an advantage for people who want to drink less, he said.

“It’s much less of a commitment to crack open a can or a small bottle or a smaller vessel than it is to open a bottle,” he said.

“Then you have to decide how quickly you’re going to go through it or end up dumping some out if you don’t finish it.”

Last month, the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction released a report funded by Health Canada saying no amount of alcohol is safe and those who consume up to two standard drinks per week face a low health risk.

That’s a significant change from the centre’s 2011 advice that said having 15 drinks per week for men and 10 drinks per week for women was low risk.

Health Canada has said it is reviewing the report.

Charlie Baessler, the managing partner at Corcelettes Estate Winery in the southern Interior, said his winery’s Santé en Cannette sparkling wine in a can was released in 2020 as a reduced alcohol, reduced sugar, low-calorie option.

“We’ve kind of gone above and beyond to attract a bit of a younger, millennial-type market segment with a fun design concept of the can and sparkling, low alcohol — all these things that have been recently a big item on the news,” he said.

Santé en Cannette is a nine per cent wine and reducing the alcohol was a way to reduce its calories, he said. The can also makes it attractive for events like a picnic or golf, is recyclable, and makes it easier for restaurants that might want to offer sparkling wine by the glass without opening an entire bottle.

At the same time, the lower alcohol content makes it an option for people who might want a glass of wine without feeling the same effect that comes from a higher alcohol content, he said.

“So the health is clearly one incentive, but I think more importantly, so was being able to enjoy a locally made product of B.C. from a boutique winery, dare I say, with a mimosa at 11 o’clock and not ruin your day,” he said.

Baessler said the winery has doubled production since the product was first released to about 30,000 cans a year, which they expect to match this year.

He said there’s naturally a market for the product but he doesn’t expect it to compete with the higher-alcohol wine.

“So this isn’t our Holy Grail. This is something that we do for fun and we’ll never compete, or never distract, from what is our core line of riper, higher-alcohol wine,” he said.

Jeff Guignard, executive director of B.C.’s Alliance of Beverage Licensees, which represents bars, pubs and private liquor stores, said the industry has seen a shift in consumers wanting options that are more convenient.

“It’s not a massive change in consumer behaviour but it is a definitely a noticeable one, which is why you see big companies responding to it,” he said.

Guignard said the latest CCSA report is creating an increased awareness and desire to become educated about responsible consumption choices, which is a good thing, but he adds it’s important for people to look at the relative risk of what they’re doing.

“If you’re eating fast food three meals a day, I don’t think having a beer or not is going to be the single most important determinant of your health,” he said.

“But from a consumer perspective, as consumer preferences change, of course beverage manufacturers respond with different packaging or different products, the same way you’ve seen in the last five years, a large number of low-alcohol or no-alcohol beverages being introduced to the market.”

While he won’t predict how much the market share could grow, Guignard said non-alcoholic beverages and low-alcoholic beverages will continue to be a significant piece of the market.

“I don’t know if it’s reached its peak or if it will grow. I just expect it to be part of the market for now on.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 5, 2023.

 

Ashley Joannou, The Canadian Press

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